Friday, 15 February 2013

Sitting Ducks (2001)

Michael Bedard is considered to be one of the world's most acclaimed artists / writers - and with good reason. An intellectual man, his art and books have received high praise indeed by the quality of his work and how he channels deep, somewhat meaningful messages into each piece - most recognisable of all is one poster known simply as "Sitting Ducks", whose meaning behind the inspiration has made the ducks themselves as popular as Donald or Daffy combined.
In fast, it soon flourished into the best-selling children's book of 1998. Written and illustrated by Bedard, it tells the story about alligators that hatch ducks in a "Duck Factory", which they then send to Ducktown where the ducks live idyllic lives and become too fat to fly - only then do the alligators lure the ducks to the Decoy Cafe to eat them. However, one duck is befriended by an alligator, who helps to encourage the Ducktown residents to lose the fat and fly away to avoid being eaten.

The book became an instant hit, winning three prestigious international awards for children's literature and, evidentially, Michael turned to adapting the book to television.
Launched in 2001, and produced by Creative Capers Entertainment and Kristlin/Elliott Digital, it loosely follows the original premise of the book only now the characters and their settings become more established - the series follows the unlikely friendship of Bill the Duck (Ian James Corlett) and Aldo the Alligator (Dave Ward) as they try to overcome the differences set between Ducktown and the neighbouring Swampwood - which included Aldo's duck cravings.
The series also features Bill's neighbours: three brothers Ed, Oly and Waddle (Louis Chirillo, Phil Hayes and Jay Brazeau), a penguin called Fred (Phil Haye), Decoy Cafe owner Bev (Kathleen Barr), Cecil, Ducktown's only Dentist (Ian James Corlett) and Rawol (Michael Benyaer), a Hispanic crow who heckles the ducks because they can't fly.

Another of the earliest CGI shows for its time, the animation isn't quite Pixar, but it translates Michael's character illustrations very well, and the team at Creative Capers obviously put a good deal of effort in the visuals as they have with the many other clients they've worked for. And of course, it clearly shows that the voice actors and writers have had a lot of fun with working on the show, which ran for two seasons and earned itself a good deal of merchandise: Books, DVDs, PC Games, and even rumours of a supposed feature-length movie around the time...

While the show may not have tapped America's interest a great deal, the rest of Europe adored it as indeed I have. The comedy feels every bit of Michael Bedard in its own quirky way: silly but sophisticated, the type of show that would apply to both children and parents. All in all, it's definitely won a place in my heart and on my DVD shelf - of which only a handful of episodes have been released in the UK as opposed to everywhere else overseas, where the first complete series has been on DVD since 2004 and the rest to view on Hulu. And that's as the Duck flies...matter of speaking!


If you're unable to find the original book anywhere, then view it online from this College Assignment video!

1 comment:

  1. I actually remember this one! They used to air it on Cartoon Network pretty early in the morning and I used to watch it before I went to school. I remember liking it and I think it's still a nice show to watch. Never knew it was a children's book either. Thanks for sharing this, Chris! :D